President Obama's Quote About What to Do After You've Lost Is Striking a Nerve

November 10th 2016

Laura Donovan

Following Hillary Clinton's stunning loss to President-elect Donald Trump on Election Day, Humans of New York creator Brandon Stanton reposted a previous message President Barack Obama shared with him about losing.

Humans of New York Obama

The message, which is about Obama's first Congressional loss, is from a 2015 feature that the president did with HONY, but is striking a nerve with those disappointed with the election results.

“I first ran for Congress in 1999, and I got beat," Obama wrote. "I just got whooped. I had been in the state legislature for a long time, I was in the minority party, I wasn’t getting a lot done, and I was away from my family and putting a lot of strain on Michelle. Then for me to run and lose that bad, I was thinking maybe this isn’t what I was cut out to do. I was forty years old, and I’d invested a lot of time and effort into something that didn’t seem to be working."

He added that focusing on the work he wanted to do got him through this setback:

"But the thing that got me through that moment, and any other time that I’ve felt stuck, is to remind myself that it’s about the work. Because if you’re worrying about yourself—if you’re thinking: ‘Am I succeeding? Am I in the right position? Am I being appreciated?’ – then you’re going to end up feeling frustrated and stuck. But if you can keep it about the work, you’ll always have a path. There’s always something to be done.”

The message continues to resonate:


This comes eight months after Stanton wrote a biting open letter to Trump on his Humans of New York Facebook page, arguing that Trump has "encouraged prejudice and violence in the pursuit of personal power," among other things.

Read Obama's full HONY post below: